B.C. NDP promises transit expansion, Liberals look at tax cuts ahead of recovery talk
NDP Leader John Horgan says his party will complete a Vancouver SkyTrain expansion
VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s Liberal and NDP leaders squeezed in campaign promises of small business tax breaks and transit expansion before they square off at a board of trade event later today.
Campaigning in Delta, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson pledged to permanently eliminate the 2% small business income tax in a move that he says would help businesses and workers when they need it most.
He says an elected Liberal government would be prepared to forgo the $220 million in tax revenue for the province.
NDP Leader John Horgan says his party will complete the SkyTrain expansion to Langley during a campaign stop there.
He says he would make construction of the $3.1-billion Surrey-Langley SkyTrain a provincial capital project, ensuring it moves forward quickly and project funding is secured with the federal government.
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau is set to join Horgan and Wilkinson at a virtual discussion on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
“SkyTrain to Langley is long overdue, it connects this community to the Lower Mainland,” Horgan says.
Making the SkyTrain expansion a provincial project takes pressure of municipalities and TransLink, Horgan says, but the federal and municipal governments will still be responsible for their share.
The Langley portion of the expansion costs about $1.5 billion and Horgan says it would be paid through the Recovery Investment Fund, an annual $3 billion for capital projects announced as part of the party’s platform this week.
The Liberals’ corporate income tax break would apply to businesses with income limits of up to $500,000.
Wilkinson also promised bridge financing for the struggling tourism and hospitality sectors to help those businesses survive over the slow winter season.
“What they need is the financing to keep themselves alive over the winter and hopefully we’ll have a vaccine in 2021 so they can come back to life,” he says.
Wilkinson offered few other details but says provincially guaranteed loans could be an option and added that a Liberal government would make rolling out such support a top priority.
On Oct. 7, Furstenau pledged the Greens would allocate $300 million to create a six-month rent subsidy program for small businesses.
Qualifying businesses with monthly rental costs up to $50,000 would have a quarter of those costs covered.
By Amy Smart